Nebraska – A Cattle Rancher’s Paradise
Nebraska is nationally known for certain things – Nebraska Cornhuskers football, Warren Buffett, and the College World Series are three regularly mentioned. While the popularity of sports and money explain the familiarity with these subjects, one of Nebraska’s main points of distinction can often go unnoticed.
Because much of the population doesn’t stay up to date on the livestock and agriculture markets, they may not know how wonderful the state is for raising cattle.
When people think of cattle ranches, they typically think of a state like Texas. While there is a reason Texas is associated with cattle (they raise a ton of it there), Nebraska is a state uniquely suited to be a cattle powerhouse in its own right.
So what is it about Nebraska that would attract cattle ranchers from across the nation?
Corn, and Lots of It
Nebraska is so strongly linked to corn, the state nickname is the Cornhusker State. The state has such a heavy focus on corn as its primary crop for a number of reasons. For one, corn is more profitable to grow on a per acre basis than some other grains, such as wheat.
If corn is a more profitable crop, why don’t they grow it heavily in every state? Well, wheat is known to be more tolerant to drought conditions with little or no water. Corn is not as drought tolerant. So, in order for a farmer to feel confident growing corn, he would need to feel comfortable that he could provide the crop with sufficient water.
Fortunately for Nebraska farmers and ranchers, the Ogallala Aquifer runs below almost the entirety of the state. It is one of the world’s largest aquifers and stretches across eight states in the Great Planes. It supplies 30% of all irrigated ground water in the US.
Because the aquifer is there to provide insurance against a drought, conditions are optimal for growing corn in Nebraska. In fact, Nebraska produces the third most corn of any state.
Abundance of Cattle Feed
With all that corn growing in the state, it’s natural to convert a large bulk of it to feed for cattle. In fact, 40% of the corn grown in Nebraska is used to feed livestock in the state. With such an abundance of natural food within the state, to go along with favorable weather and soil conditions, cattle can easily flourish.
In fact, Nebraska produces the 2nd most beef of any state in the country, with over 7% of the nation’s production. Only Texas produces more. Per capita, Nebraska easily takes the beef producing crown. Texas produces about a third more head of cattle than Nebraska per year, but it also has 14 times the population. Cows actually outnumber the human population in Nebraska four to one.
The Perfect Place for a Cattle Ranch
Conditions in Nebraska make it highly conducive to raising cattle successfully. Many of the ranches for sale in Nebraska are already active in raising cattle. If you’re interested in buying a ranch in Nebraska to raise cattle, you should have ample opportunities to snatch up a wonderful property.